My husband and I have a son and a daughter. Their childhood was wonderful for all of us, as we spent weekends in the summers at the lakes and winters at the sand dunes. Our children were the ones whose others’ parents always said, “Man, they even bring you back the change when you give them money for ice cream!” We were the family who thought this could never happen to our family!
Our son played football, loved wake surfing, riding quads, dirt bikes and driving the sand rail. School was not his forte as he struggled with reading and often felt “less than.”  But he had a memory like a steel trap and a way of making others laugh.
We didn’t know about his struggles with drugs until a year after his high school graduation when his girlfriend came to us. We were literally blown out of the water, but after looking more closely, we saw red flags that his drug use probably began his senior year of high school.
We jumped into the “fix it” mode, trying suboxone, per his request.  In his case that did not work and the problem continued. We tried everything from throwing money at the problem, to policing him with weekly drug tests and contracts for living in our house. We insisted on counseling, drove him to rehab after rehab and finally realized we could not control this and told him he was no longer welcome in our house unless he was sober. That was the day when I felt we had lost our son to a living death.
He went to and completed a 13-month rehab. We thought our son was back…he was, but within six months he relapsed. He spent the next three years on the streets. Occasional sightings or phone calls let us know he was alive and there was still hope. We no longer financially supported him in any way, but always let him know he was loved, and we were here to give him a hand up, not hand out, when he was ready.     

About three months after finding out about his addiction I began searching for help and tried several groups that weren’t a good fit for me. Then I attended an event where PAL was introduced. I spent the next four years attending the weekly meeting. I honestly don’t know if I would have survived had I not had this support group and God in my life! I appreciate PAL’s philosophy that we are here to help you find joy again, not to help you fix your adult child.  When I first heard this, I scoffed thinking I will never be happy again until our son is healed!  Our marriage nearly broke apart, as we were no longer on the same page on how to best help our son. Gratefully, God put it on my heart to keep sharing what I’d learned at PAL with my husband. I know that over time it sunk in, and he began to also make the changes necessary to let go and let God in our son’s life.

Our son chose to enter rehab on his own over two months ago. We got to hug him for the first time in three years and I can’t tell you how that felt for this momma’s heart. I stay on the first floor of the Hope Hotel and focus on enjoying the moments. Perhaps, this is his time…  It has been a long, painful, amazing growth and faith-filled 9-year journey that I know is a forever marathon. But I have found PAL’s statement to not only be possible, but true. I have found joy in my life again. I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is nothing we can do to fix our children. It is their journey, their timing, and our inserting ourselves into the chaos only extends it and destroys our lives as well. As for me, I will continue to pray without ceasing for our son and for your loved ones!

-A PAL Mom

*Names have been changed to protect identities